Coronavirus update: Death toll rises to 286

Model of a coronavirus cell (CDC via AP, File)

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) announced its weekly update of coronavirus-related deaths in addition to an increase of new cases in the bi-county region.

According to public health officials, 10 new coronavirus cases were added to Benton County’s running total, which now rises to 14,406 confirmed cases to date. Meanwhile, Franklin County continues to see a spike in coronavirus cases with 41 new cases announced today. The county’s total has increased to 10,772 confirmed coronavirus cases thus far. Combined, the bi-county region has accumulated 25,178 confirmed coronavirus cases through the duration of this pandemic.

YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: 77 cases added to bi-county total

Updates to Vital Statistics Laws forced the BFHD to change the way it reports community deaths. Instead of updating the public on a daily basis, COVID-related deaths are being announced once per week on Fridays. Today, public health officials added eight people to the bi-county death toll, bringing the total to 286 community members lost.

All eight of the reported deaths stem from Benton County. Two women, one in her 60s and one in her 80s, passed due to COVID-19 complications. Six men ranging from their 40s to their 90s passed away due to complications with the virus. The Benton County coronavirus death toll now stands at 195 community members lost.

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The City of Kennewick recently surpassed 8,000 coronavirus infections. It still trails Pasco, which has accumulated 9,536 cases through the duration of the pandemic. The gap between Kennewick and Richland is significant with 3,517 confirmed cases to date. Combined, the Tri-Cities account for 21,104 cases or just under 84% of the bi-county region’s infections.

There are currently 391 people hospitalized in the bi-county region. Only 36 of them are being treated for complications with the coronavirus. They account for just 9.2% of patients currently hospitalized in the area, which falls in line with the BFHD’s target range of sub-10% COVID-related hospitalizations.

Recently, the CBC West COVID testing site updated its positivity rate statistics, showing a near-1% decrease in positivity rate. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 13, 14.8% of COVID tests administered at the bi-county region’s public testing site returned a positive result.

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